Friday, March 3, 2017

The Worst Generation

[ed. Written 10 years ago and still as relevant as ever (and I'm a Boomer).] 

At a press gathering just after the 1992 election, David Broder, the dean of Washington reporters, commented to me that my Clintonista colleagues and I seemed so, well, so young to him. "I guess you Baby Boomers are really taking over," he said.

That's when it happened. I'd never been called a Boomer before. Poor Broder. My eyes got squinty and my face got red. The veins in my temples throbbed. The look on his face was horrible. He must have thought I was about to rip off his head and spit down his neck. Which I was.

"I am not a Baby Boomer," I snapped. "I am so tired of hearing about the goddamn Baby Boomers! I've spent my whole life swimming behind that garbage barge of a generation. They ruined everything they've passed through and left me in their wake."

Broder shook his head and walked away.

But the garbage barge just chugs on. As they enter late middle age, the Boomers still can't grow up. Guys who once dropped acid are now downing Viagra; women who once eschewed lipstick are now getting liposuction. At the risk of feeding their narcissism, I believe it's time someone stated the simple truth: The Baby Boomers are the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing generation in American history.

I hate the Boomers.

I know it's a sin to hate, so let me put it this way: If they were animals, they'd be a plague of locusts, devouring everything in their path and leaving but a wasteland. If they were plants, they'd be kudzu, choking off every other living thing with their sheer mass. If they were artists, they'd be abstract expressionists, interested only in the emotions of that moment--not in the lasting result of the creative process. If they were a baseball club, they'd be the Florida Marlins: prefab prima donnas who bought their way to prominence, then disbanded--a temporary association but not a team.

Of course, it is as unfair to demonize an entire generation as it is to characterize an entire gender or race or religion. And I don't literally mean that everyone born between 1946 and 1964 is a selfish pig. But generations can have a unique character that defines them, especially the elites of a generation--those lucky few who are blessed with the money or brains or looks or skills or education that typifies an era. Whether it was Fitzgerald and Hemingway defining the Lost Generation of World War I and the Roaring Twenties, or JFK and the other heroes of the World War II generation, or the high-tech whiz kids of the post-Boomer generation, certain archetypes define certain times.

You know who you are. If you grew your hair and burned your draft card on campus during the sixties; if you toked, screwed, and boogied your way through the seventies; if you voted for Reagan and believed "Greed is good" in the eighties; and if you're trying to make up for it now by nesting as you cluck about the collapse of "family values," you're it. If not, even if demographers call you a Boomer, you probably hate our generation's elite as much as I do.

by Paul Begala, Esquire |  Read more:
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